Here at Bill’s Logo Service we keep an eye on logo traffic. For a while we’ve been concerned about Spotify. Its logo was need of a radical overhaul. The Spotify logo had the charm of a Smart Car. But it also had the Smart Car’s practicality. As a cute little music service the old logo seemed to get the job done– in a naïve fashion. But now that Spotify has taken on a more prominent role in the world of music and music listeners, the old logo felt like a CMO driving that Smart Car.
Spotify seemed to agree with that assessment. They revealed their new brand logo this week. Brand New shared the change two days ago on its B-Side of brand identity changes. I suspect Brand New editor Armin Vit placed this identity change on the B-Side for two reasons: he lacked sufficient information about the change; and, the logo revision itself was lacking.
The old logo had many problems: it was cartoonish, the typography was bad, that rogue o seemed like it was trying to escape– either that or it was screaming for help. Another group of problems came from Spotify’s more prevalent mark. For users, Spotify was represented by the app icon on their mobile devices and on their computer’s application docks. It was probably lost on most people that the app icon was meant to be a close-up on the o and the 3 arcs. Those arcs were no doubt meant to indicate sound waves emanating from the o, which was meant to represent one (presumably stereo?) speaker.
That sound waves arc representation is a cliché. The design needed a different context to be iconic, and to standout as uniquely associated with Spotify and its music delivery. Spotify has upended the music business. It’s essentially Netflix for music. I don’t think the logo designer(s) considered what Spotify represented in the cultural landscape. They merely focused on the delivery of the music and not Spotify as a media company providing access to a massive cultural library.
The worst thing about the new combination mark (symbol and logotype) is that Spotify kept those sound waves virtually intact. Perhaps there is some conceptual reason for the waves increasing in width (and strength?) as they travel farther from their source; if it’s conceptual, it’s lost on me.
The sans serif logotype is well constructed. I asked type master Stephen Coles to identify the typeface via his Font ID Twitter account– I am ashamed to say I missed that it was the ubiquitous Gotham by Hoefler Frere-Jones. Gotham is itself a logo cliché; it’s the BMW 3-Series of the typography highway. Of course it’s popular– it’s just that good. Stephen has included the new Spotify on his Fonts in Use site. The weakness in the type solution is the lack of any connection between the Gotham logotype and the circular, green, sound wave symbol. There is a nice balance to the solution, but the logotype portion needed something other than a round tittle to make it more unique, and to associate it with Spotify.
All things considered, this Spotify revision is a disappointment.
Amy Vale will begin her new job, as member of the marketing team at Spotify, with this new logo. Prior to the new Spotify logo reveal, I wrote Amy to suggest that they might consider a revision. If you happen to read this Amy, I’m available to consult on a revision of the revision.